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Nicolas Maduro has appointed four new vice presidents at Venezuela’s state oil firm PDVSA and a new president of the unit managing the company’s relations with private foreign firms, PDVSA said on Saturday, a week after Maduro declared an energy emergency in the country.
At the end of February, Maduro declared emergency for the country’s oil industry, calling for measures to ensure Venezuela’s energy security.
“I declare an emergency situation in the oil industry by constitutional and presidential decree in order to take urgent and necessary measures to ensure the country’s energy security and protect the industry from imperialist aggression,” Maduro said.
According to Maduro’s latest orders, German Márquez becomes the new president of Corporación Venezolana del Petróleo (CVP), the unit handling PDVSA’s joint ventures with private firms.
The move comes two weeks after the United States stepped up pressure on Venezuela’s oil trade by sanctioning a unit of Russian oil giant Rosneft.
At the beginning of February, the U.S. warned companies doing business with Venezuela, including Rosneft and even Chevron, to “tread cautiously towards their activities in Venezuela,” because more sanctions on Maduro’s regime would be coming.
Two weeks later, the United States slapped sanctions on a Geneva-based trading unit of Rosneft, saying that the company Rosneft Trading has been helping Maduro’s regime to evade sanctions and to continue selling oil to keep the regime alive.
Now the U.S. Administration is looking to further increase the pressure on Venezuela’s oil industry and exports.
“The President has made a decision to push harder on the Venezuelan oil sector and we’re going to do it. And what we’re telling people involved in this sector is that they should get out of it,” Elliott Abrams, U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela, told Reuters in an interview last week.
The Trump Administration is considering whether to extend the waiver to Chevron in light of the increased sanctions pressure on Venezuela, Abrams told Reuters, but declined to comment on specifics.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.